Published: September 11th 2011September 2nd 2011
Accommodation: Kichwa Tembo
Game Viewing: Lions, Elephants, Hippos, Buffalo, Cheetah, Black Rhino, Hyenas, Zebra, Wildebeest (very few) & Birds.
Game drives: 6:30/7:00am to 10:30am and then 3:30/4:00pm to 6:30pm (park closes at 6:30pm). However we bucked this trend and went from 7:30am to 2:00/2:30pm. The advantage of doing this was we literally had the entire park to ourselves while the rest had gone back to their various lodges for lunch. There were several occasions where we just hung out with the lions with nobody in sight or no sounds of vehicles, it was truly amazing.
Guide: Douglas – very good.
From the Seregenti we flew from the Kogatende Airstrip to the Tarime Airstrip which was an amazing flight. It was just the two of us and we followed the Mara River at just 1,000 Ft, allowing again for spectacular game viewing. This was probably the highlight of our flights as we landed on a grass airstrip and the kids from the surrounding village ran up to see the plane. It was a fantastic experience and hit home that we truly were in a remote region.
From here we drove to the Tanzania and Kenya border where
we had to get our Kenyan visa. The process was very smooth, and the difference between being in Tanzania vs Kenya was noticeable immediately as everything in Kenya is in English rather than Swahili. After an hour drive from the border we once again hopped onto another plane at the Migori Airstrip – again by ourselves- for a quick flight to Kichwa Tembo.
The Kichwa Tembo Lodge was very different from the previous two lodges as it had 40+ canvas tents hosting some 80+ guests. Here you are just a number, you are easily lost – in fact they forgot to pick us up at the airport, so after waiting an hour with the pilot we hopped into another Camp’s vehicle to take us up to the Lodge. Despite the sheer number of guests, there were actually very few vehicles in the park. At no time where there ever more than (5) vehicles at any one sighting and at those sightings a park ranger was present to ensure the animals were not being encroached.
The game viewing in the Masi Mara is spectacular and the savannah with its Acacia trees provides for an incredible back drop. On each
game drive we saw several herds of elephants which resulted in seeing a 100+ elephants each day, a large number of giraffes, zebras, buffalos and lions. There were animals everywhere, it is truly an amazing place. There were very few wildebeest as they had moved south as we had witnessed in Tanzania. There were an abundance of lions but we did not see any prides, but rather a few males together, then a few females together and some mating. We were able to see a leopard, however it treed itself for 8+ hours leaving its kill at the bottom of the tree, so we got glimpses of it but never did see it come out of the tree.
Even though the size of the lodge made for a very unsociable setting we were very lucky to have (3) fantastic people join us on our drives and ultimately breakfasts and dinners. This by far was the funniest part of our trip due to Mike, Samantha and Bernie’s friendship.
If having to recommend which of the Safari’s to recommend here are our thoughts;
For a 1st time safari – Masi Mara
Great Migration – Northern Serengeti
South Africa – Sabi
Sand (Lions Sand) was our first safari and was no doubt the bench mark for all future safaris. By far it still ranks as the top for accommodation and food and for the overall safari experience. However, the sheer numbers of animals in the Masi Mara and the Great Migration in the Serengeti offer experiences that we did not or could not experience in South Africa.
There are more photos below